Brazzaville [key], city (1984 pop. 585,812), capital of the Republic of the Congo, on Pool Malebo of the Congo River. It is the nation's largest city and its administrative, communications, and economic center. The chief industries are beverage processing, tanning, and the manufacture of construction materials, matches, and textiles. There are also machine shops. An important port on the Congo River, Brazzaville receives wood, rubber, agricultural products, and other items and sends them by railroad to Pointe-Noire, a port on the Atlantic Ocean. Motorboats connect Brazzaville with Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, across Pool Malebo. The city was founded in 1880 by Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, the Italian-French explorer; his remains were reburied there in 2006. It was the capital of French Equatorial Africa from 1910 to 1958 and was the center of Free French forces in Africa during World War II. The city's main growth began after 1945. It has a national university and a school of African art. It is also the regional headquarters of the World Health Organization. At a conference in Brazzaville in 1944, African leaders from French West and Equatorial Africa for the first time publicly called for reforms in French colonial rule, thus starting the colonies on the road to independence. In late 1960 leaders of newly independent French-speaking African nations met in the city; the “Brazzaville group” of states, which adopted a moderate political stance on most African and international issues of the time, took its name from this meeting.
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